The Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS) is part of the America Competes Act and requires that any student or post-doctoral fellow receive training on the responsible conduct of research and scholarship if they are funded on research, training grants, or federally-funded fellowships.
The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) decided to meet the RCRS requirement by folding the training into an academic course along with other discipline-specific research topics. This approach allows us to leverage university systems already in place, namely Wolverine Access. A course-based approach instead of stand-alone workshops or other training methods allows students to sign up for the course in a way that is already familiar to them and makes for less record-keeping work by staff in departments. Students must be re-trained at every level of educational training: undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellow. Courses cover the key areas of responsible conduct of research, including avoiding plagiarism, ownership of data, authorship practices, conflicts of interest, and other topics relevant to research and scholarship. If a student is doing research in another area of the University, they may either take a course in LSA, or they may either take a course in LSA, or they may take the training developed by the unit funding the student or postdoc that prompted the training requirement. A list of eligible courses that meet the federal requirements is below.
To satisfy the RCRS requirement, undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdocs funded on grants in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts may take a course offered by one of our departments as part of their regular curriculum identified as an RCRS course, or University Course 415 (UC 415) “Scholarly Integrity in the Natural Sciences.”
RCRS courses cover the following:
- appropriate citation of sources and avoiding plagiarism
- authorship and publication practices and responsibilities
- acquisition, management, ownership and sharing of data
- research misconduct, including data fabrication and falsification
- personal, professional and financial conflicts of interest
- supervisory and mentoring relationships and responsibilities
- responsibilities of collaborative research protection
We ask that those needing RCRS training register for a course which satisfies the RCRS requirement as soon as possible. Courses are typically offered either the Fall or Winter semester. Doctoral students may satisfy the training through a Rackham-required course or in another school/college at UM (i.e. College of Engineering, College of Pharmacy, Medical School, etc.) Please note that UM’s online PEERRS training does not satisfy the RCRS requirement.
Post-doctoral fellows are unable to formally register for the course in Wolverine Access, so it is necessary to talk with the course instructor about sitting in the course, fully participating in the class even though not “registered.” Credit is given upon successful completion of the course and notification is made to the LSA Dean’s Office.
Most courses offered by departments covering the responsible conduct of research are seminars and offered at the graduate level. Please check with the graduate coordinator or research administrator in the department where you are doing research to see if a department seminar is the right course for you.
Rackham Requirement for Graduate Students
Effective for new students in the fall 2014 term, all Ph.D. students are required to complete training in the responsible conduct of research and scholarship before advancing to candidacy. Each graduate program determines the content and methods for providing students with this education and for ensuring its successful completion. Requirements may take the form of a course, workshop, or be part of a larger professional development seminar, but must include at least eight hours of face-to-face contact between students and faculty members, with more than one faculty member involved.
The Graduate Chair must certify that each student who applies to advance to candidacy has completed the required training.
Training in the responsible conduct of research and scholarship is optional, but strongly recommended, for students in master’s and DMA programs.
For more information on the Rackham policy, please see Section 4.2 of the Doctoral Degrees website.
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